When I am asking someone for advice the number one thing I care most about is the truth. 2017 was a hard and life-changing year that will go in the books as a turning point in my life. I learned a lot, I cried a lot, and I was stretched in ways I didn’t know I was capable of. We made it to our first year of marriage, wrecked some cars, learned the art of grace, and better yet was shown what it meant to lean on each other and to lean on these truths. I think we are all so very thankful to welcome 2018 with open arms and an renewed spirits. Here are the top truths that 2017 taught me.
(Literally) Hurricane Harvey hit our home August 26, 2017. We were amazed at what the damage of just a few inches of water could actually look like. A few inches may as well have been a few feet. Sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, baseboards, it all had to be replaced and with no flood insurance and little help from our homeowner insurance. Although I knew that we were in God’s hands sometimes it felt like maybe the outcome was going to be different than we had hoped. I knew somewhere within this mess there was going to be a testimony, I just didn’t know how that was going to look or when it was going to happen. Of course in my mind I assumed that meant miraculous time travel and less work-but we all know that’s not how it works. He not only replaced what we had but replaced it with better. He is always faithful in taking care of his children. Side note-if you live off the coast, buy flood insurance.. even if you aren’t required to.
In April of 2017, my father-in-law lost his battle to cancer. I will never lose the details that surrounded that moment. Details that are still too tender to share. While it seemed like chaos and heartache engulfed us, my husband and I kept a peace that surpassed all understanding. It didn’t make sense. How could we be so heartbroken and torn and yet have peace. I remember my husband feeling like something was wrong with him or that he didn’t care enough because he had this undeniable peace that covered him like a thick wool blanket. The guilt that can come with this peace can start to rise until you are reminded that your heavenly Father comforts you and holds you even when you don’t ask him too. It shouldn’t be a shock or a shameful conviction to accept that peace and dwell in it-even when mourning. Accepting peace in a time when you feel that you don’t deserve it can be hard. I am so thankful that throughout 2017 we were surrounded by a village of loving people and a Father who cares so deeply for us.
There are no doubt things in this world that will stress you out. If you’re like me and happen to have a bit (or more) of a control freak strand in your DNA, than this can become overwhelming. There are aspects that I have finally learned to say okay, whatever the situation may be is in God’s hands and there is nothing I can do or say to change this. (Such as when dealing with contractors fixing your home who hear your words going in one ear and out the other.) There are other things however that people stress over that they have more control than they think and just need to search for other approaches. For example, money. I stress about money 10 times more than Alex does. I’ve learned in 2017 that we don’t have to always stress about it. For us, it took a lot of trial and error with different budgets before we found one that worked for us in this season. Of course, in the future, when things come up, we will adjust our sails and move forward. The point is, we could have sat there and continued to just say how stressed out we were, and for a while we did, but at some point something has to change.
I am so thankful that 2017 showed us how strong we really are. There were many opportunities that we could have opted for the victim mentality-and a few times we fell into it, but we would always pull ourselves up and remind ourselves who we are and where we want to be- and being a victim was not in either of those categories. We chose to have life happen for us and not to us-finding the love and beauty of God in every situation. I feel that I have learned more about myself in the past year than I ever have before. I learned that I can persevere when things get hard, that I can chase my goals even if I don’t have an entire cheerleading squad, that the village I have surrounded myself with is always without a doubt the best people on this planet.
If you always are looking for affirmation from other people about what you’re doing or what your dreams are, you may never achieve them. Although you may have a supportive tribe backing you up, no one wants you to achieve your goals more than you do. No one can put in the work like you will. If you are always relying on what other people think of you to tell you what you should think of yourself, you won’t understand self-love and self-drive. I will never fully stop caring about what people think of me-it’s been engrained into us as children. However, I can choose to what level I will let it effect my life and how I view myself. In 2017, I have learned the art of giving myself some grace. That was one of my biggest internal challenges. I can be hard on the people I surround myself with, but I am even harder on myself. I have learned to try to hear people’s intentions instead of the words coming out of their mouths. If we always take everything said personally and hold it against people we may never be able to share grace with them and understand where they are coming from or what they were really trying to say instead of the word vomit that left their mouth during a heated debate.
For a long time I wouldn’t share with people what I truly wanted to do in life. It felt silly and ridiculous. Aspiring to be a writer and speaker was never something I wanted to admit out loud. I wasn’t the smart one in the group, I was the funny one. But here’s the thing. If you never take even the step to admit it out loud, how on God’s green earth do you expect to ever fulfill that yearning in your soul that screams at you that you should be doing that. If something is life giving to you, you need to do it-end of story. It doesn’t matter how huge your dreams and goals seem or how unobtainable people tell you they are. Yes I am a dreamer. Yes I see the world through a romantic lens. However, I am also reaching for something that brings me joy. Everyone has a small part of them that tells them why they are here. I one-hundred percent believe I was put on this earth to love people. I have a tattoo that says “Live to Love” incase I ever forget it. One of the ways I feel I can love people is by sharing with them. Being as vulnerable and relatable as I know how, because not one person wants to feel alone and all people go through challenges. If you don’t have a squad of sign holding cheerleaders screaming “you can do it”, then find someone or somewhere to give you that push of encouragement. Listen to a podcast. Join a community who is striving for the same goals. Here’s the key- Don’t give up, even if no one is telling you that you shouldn’t.
My hope is that 2018 is your year. That this is your turning point to start making life happen for you.
All my love,
Comparison is the Thief of Joy, don’t let it ruin young adulthood for you!